Summary: A sermon on Isaiah 48 and demons and how they can know the future (Material adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, God Most High, pg. 101)
Francis MacNutt quotes Walter Wink in his book “Deliverance from Evil Spirits" writes: "...if you want to bring all talk to a halt in shocked embarrassment, every eye riveted on you, try mentioning angels, or demons or the devil. You will quickly be appraised for signs of pathological violence and then quietly shunned. Angels, spirits, principalities, gods, Satan – these along with other supernatural realities, are the unmentionables of our culture."
Exegesis of Isaiah 48:1-15
These verses are the most confrontational against the gods of the nations. But the Lord here is not talking to the heathen nations, He is talking directly to the Israelites. They should know better than to worship heathen gods and idols. After the exile, they did not.
Their outward expressions of faith are hollow and untruthful. The Lord Almighty can neither be deceived by nor tolerate such hypocrisy.
Vs. 4, 8- These verses tell us in what ways the Israelites are full of hypocrisy.
Stubborn or stiff necked: “Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Deuteronomy 9:6, NIV.
Rebel: ““Far be it from us to rebel against the LORD and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle.”” Joshua 22:29, NIV.
God makes his predictions so precisely so that when the events occur, it would be impossible to say that some idol god performed the actions.
In Vs. 6 the prophet turns to the future. He will predict new things that have not been heard before. God can do new things, something the idols cannot do. He is the Creator and can therefore say and do things that have never happened before. He is doing this so precisely so that no one can “defame” him by comparing Him to an idol and so that no idol may share his “glory” - Vs. 11
Vs. 12- 15
These verses sharpen God’s appeal to his people. Three times they are commanded to listen. Also these verses recap why the people should listen
God is the sole Creator (Vs. 12-13) before everything and after everything.
He is the Lord of history (Vs. 14-15). Just as he summons the stars of the heavens and they obey (vs. 13), so he can also summon a Persian king, who will do what God has purposed all along (Vs. 14).
No idol can predict such a thing in advance as God has because they are captive to the cycles of time and chance. They can only do what they have always done.
This whole case is built upon the idea that God is the only one who can accurately predict the future. However, is God the only one who can predict the future?
Jeane Dixon made hundreds of predictions in the 1950s, ’60s and ‘70s. Dixon was most famous for foreseeing the assassination of John F. Kennedy — in 1956 she said a Democrat would win the 1960 election and die in office.
The Amazing Criswell, a pop-culture fixture of the 1960s, appeared on The Jack Paar Program in March of 1963, and predicted that tragedy would strike President Kennedy in November.
Most disturbing is the account of Edgar Cayce. Almost every day, several times a day, for more than forty years, Cayce would induce himself into an altered out-of-body state of consciousness and reveal profound information on various subjects. But it was the information that Cayce revealed about the future for which he is probably most known.
Cayce's Visions of the Future That Already Have Come True
Foresaw the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression
Foresaw the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler.
Foresaw both the beginning and the end of World War II.
Foresaw the deaths of two presidents of the US in office, not giving their names but indicating the proper time frame for them. FDR and JFK
Foresaw the collapse of Soviet Union and communism.
Foresaw the rise of major technological industries- 10 to 30 years in while ideas were still in their novelty stage, Cayce advised his clients to focus on all aspects of radio, telegraphy, telephones, communications and electronics industries. A man named David Kahn made millions of dollars with this information.
On January 1, 1945, came his most disturbing prediction. Cayce announced that he would be buried in four more days. This prediction proved to be true.
How do we explain this? Must understand that all of these people predicted a lot of things that did not come to be. Experts on Nostradamus say (if we can interpret his writings properly) his predictions are less than 10% accurate. 90% of the time he and others like him are not accurate. How do we explain the 10% accuracy of things that are difficult to predict?